Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Jan 2010 11:37 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems It's funny how while software changes so fast, and many hardware components evolve at ridiculously fast paces (processors, memory, hard drives), the keyboard has remained largely unchanged over the years - until recently, that is. Even Lenovo has now buckled under the pressure, switching to a chiclet-style keyboard for ThinkPads - while also removing the SysReq key.
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Be careful, Lenovo.
by strcpy on Thu 14th Jan 2010 11:43 UTC
strcpy
Member since:
2009-05-20

There is no doubt in my mind that the keyboards in ThinkPads are simply superior, often beating even normal non-laptop keyboards. No other laptop/netbook comes even close. Actually for me, the keyboard is probably the single most important feature when it comes to ThinkPads as laptops.

Be careful, Lenovo. Not all things get better when changed.

EDIT: As a disclaimer, I haven't used (very) new Lenovo models so I don't know if the keyboards are still as good as in the IBM times or shortly after. As for keys to remove, Windows-keys should go straight away together with all unnecessary "multimedia keys" and related crap (volume up, down, and mute are all that is needed).

Edited 2010-01-14 11:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Be careful, Lenovo.
by unavowed on Thu 14th Jan 2010 12:42 in reply to "Be careful, Lenovo."
unavowed Member since:
2006-03-23

I have been buying thinkpads only for myself and have been recommending them to those who asked me for a long time. The major arguments have been hardware with free drivers (mostly) and the keyboard. The keyboards on the thinkpads I've been using have two things going for them: the tactile feel (as opposed to rubbery keys that produce presses in random order when typing fast, as on some other laptops) and, most importantly, the layout. The F1-F12 keys are grouped correctly by 4, the escape key is in the corner isolated from other keys, and the insert/home/del/end/pgup/pgdown keys are in the same three-by-two arrangement as on classic keyboards, also separated from other keys. (prtsc/scrlk/pause are separated too, but I don't use them much). I use page up/page down/home/end a lot, so this layout is important to me. I simply can't stand laptops with these keys spread randomly on the edges of the keyboard, or what's worse, to the right of return, where they're easily hit accidentally. It would indeed be sad if thinkpads changed in this way. Are there any other laptops out there with good keyboards?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Be careful, Lenovo.
by vermaden on Thu 14th Jan 2010 17:29 in reply to "RE: Be careful, Lenovo."
vermaden Member since:
2006-11-18

Are there any other laptops out there with good keyboards?



Check Dell Latitude laptops/keyboards, even better in layout, especially if you take FN/CTRL in proper place (compared to moved FN/CTRL in ThinkPads).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Be careful, Lenovo.
by cerbie on Thu 14th Jan 2010 18:44 in reply to "RE: Be careful, Lenovo."
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

I wish I could give more than 1 mod point.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Be careful, Lenovo.
by sorpigal on Fri 15th Jan 2010 22:21 in reply to "RE: Be careful, Lenovo."
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

My Toshiba Satelite laptop has all of the things you describe and a full numpad as well. It is, however, a massive "desktop replacement" device weighing >10 lbs. I imagine that at smaller sizes everyone compromizes.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

IBM has always always had great keyboards.. or for as long as I can remember. Even my old manilla (now dirty grey) IBM keyboard is a rock solid beast and joy to type on.

My only hope is that Lenovo did a good job rather than screw up something that it's brand predecessor did right.

(edit): the special keys

I agree that many of the special keys could go away such as the Win key (as if it's the only OS out there). I'd be happy if the keys simply functioned through the BIOS though. Screen brightness, monitor output, volume and mute.. there is no reason these functions should be written through a hardware driver and especially when that driver will only be released for Windows.

Edited 2010-01-14 15:05 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Be careful, Lenovo.
by phoenix on Thu 14th Jan 2010 17:07 in reply to "Be careful, Lenovo."
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

As for keys to remove, Windows-keys should go straight away together with all unnecessary "multimedia keys" and related crap (volume up, down, and mute are all that is needed).


No way, no how!! While the icon on the "right-click" key is bizarre and the key is rarely used, the "Win" key itself is extremely useful. Especially if you mentally map "Win" to "Window Manager", which makes it a very useful key to use for mapping window manager-level shortcuts.

How anyone can think ALT+F2 is better than Win+R to bring up the KRunner is beyond me. ;)

I have all the KDE/KWin shortcuts mapped to Win+letter, and it just makes things so much simpler. The mouse rarely needs to be used.

Multimedia keys like play, skip, next are pretty much useless, since there are already keyboard shortcuts for those in all media players.

And application-specific keys like Launch Browser, Launch E-mail, can go. We already have icons for those, and keyboard commands to bring them up.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Be careful, Lenovo.
by strcpy on Thu 14th Jan 2010 17:47 in reply to "RE: Be careful, Lenovo."
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


How anyone can think ALT+F2 is better than Win+R to bring up the KRunner is beyond me. ;)

I have all the KDE/KWin shortcuts mapped to Win+letter, and it just makes things so much simpler. The mouse rarely needs to be used.


Well, I'm a Emacs guy, so go figure ;) .

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Be careful, Lenovo.
by sorpigal on Fri 15th Jan 2010 22:18 in reply to "RE: Be careful, Lenovo."
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I tend do agree. I am exclusively a non-Windows user but I find that the "GUI" key, despite its Microsoft-friendly logo, has its place.

The standard keyboard keyset comes from pre-GUI days. In the GUI world it makes good sense to have a GUI meta key and it's much easier not to take over alt or ctrl, since many apps assume those are going to get passed on through.

The context menu key some keyboards sport is another matter. I remain unconvinced of its virtues. If one were to build a GUI in which it actually did something useful--you know, one that didn't involve the current position of the mouse, or the focused element--then I might change my tune.

In general more keys are not bad if they're useful for something, but too many and they become a burden. Sun has made some good and bad choices in this area.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Be careful, Lenovo.
by TemporalBeing on Thu 14th Jan 2010 18:40 in reply to "Be careful, Lenovo."
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

There is no doubt in my mind that the keyboards in ThinkPads are simply superior, often beating even normal non-laptop keyboards. No other laptop/netbook comes even close. Actually for me, the keyboard is probably the single most important feature when it comes to ThinkPads as laptops.

EDIT: As a disclaimer, I haven't used (very) new Lenovo models so I don't know if the keyboards are still as good as in the IBM times or shortly after.


I have to quite well disagree with you - perhaps better than most laptops, but not normal keyboards. I actually can't stand laptop keyboards; perhaps b/c I'm so use the breadth of my MS Natural Keyboards (about the only MS product I buy; and one that has probably saved me from having massive carpel tunnel issues).

My T61p's keyboard is a bit more spacious than my Dell D600's - but it's not that much different from the Dell D800's either.

...As for keys to remove, Windows-keys should go straight away together with all unnecessary "multimedia keys" and related crap (volume up, down, and mute are all that is needed).


The Windows key is one of the most versatile and useful keys on the keyboard, and provides a great place for Windows Manager/non-application short-cuts like: open run dialog (Win+R), explorer (Win+E), System Information (Win+PauseBreak), Minimize All (Win+M), and many more.

Sadly, most Linux distros or Windows Managers don't map these by default.

EDIT: Fixed quote marker.

Edited 2010-01-14 18:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Be careful, Lenovo.
by OSGuy on Thu 14th Jan 2010 20:35 in reply to "Be careful, Lenovo."
OSGuy Member since:
2006-01-01

As for keys to remove, Windows-keys should go straight away together with all unnecessary "multimedia keys" and related crap (volume up, down, and mute are all that is needed).

I disagree with you. In all honesty, have you used Windows 7? I am only referring to the Windows key.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Windows key
by seanpk on Fri 15th Jan 2010 05:07 in reply to "Be careful, Lenovo."
seanpk Member since:
2009-11-17

actually, I've come to like the windows key quite a bit.

in xfce I have bound all my programs to some combination of windows key and a letter, e.g.: web browser = windows+w; terminal = windows+z
even my desktop navigation is bound to the windows key + an arrow key, or the desktop number

this is a fantastic way to start programs, and do workspace switches.
I much prefer it over the default ctrl+alt combinations because it is one less button, and a button you're never going to try to use in the context of working with a program

Reply Parent Score: 1